Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

By David Grieg and Gordon McIntyre
Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda
Until December 15

MIDSUMMER is a traditional setting for romantic comedy. The ancient festival of the summer solstice, with its fairy dust and holiday high jinks, upends convention and breaks down social barriers so love might do its work more freely.

David Grieg and Gordon McIntyre update the mayhem to late 20th century Edinburgh, delivering a charming play with songs that charts an unusual (and unusually amusing) courtship between two jaded thirty-somethings.

Divorce lawyer Helena (Ella Caldwell) has seen enough blood on the floor to avoid sentimentality in the romantic sphere. When she picks up busker-turned-petty crim Bob (Ben Prendergast), she basically never wants to see him again. But fate has other ideas.

The rather unsatisfactory one-night stand leads to an improbable spree. Soon, the reluctant lovers are embarking on a wild and mortifying weekend, with weddings from hell, a cast of random goths, a chase subplot involving Scottish gangsters, and even a spot of Japanese rope bondage bringing them closer.

Midsummer employs playful and theatrical storytelling, with characterisation supplemented by overt role-playing, goofy pop songs on acoustic guitar, and ''he said, she said'' re-enactment that contrasts common male and female insecurities, pretensions and habits of mind. If you need to be purged of romantic cynicism, this is just the ticket.